Figure 1 Stéphanie Pérèle photo caption: Stéphanie Pérèle, Head of the Brands and Products division
Simone Pérèle is renowned for its corsetry. Why did you decide to move into swimwear? What were your expectations?
By creating a seaside collection, we hoped to be able to strengthen the position of Simone Pérèle as a fashion brand. We are indeed renowned for our corsetry, but these intimate items are, of course, not visible on the outside. Through our swimwear range, with items that everyone can see, we hope to strengthen the reputation of our brand and once again demonstrate its creativity and expertise.
Does that make design a key part of your swimwear collections?
Absolutely! Through our swimwear collections we are able to showcase the values of the brand and prove our ability to design fashion and create a buzz. This comes back to putting creativity at the heart of the process of designing collections.
What are the steps involved in creating a new collection?
Everything starts from a plan of the collection, which defines the number of lines sought and the shapes that match the needs of the market. From this brief, the creative teams look carefully at the latest fashion trends, through haute couture fashion shows, current exhibitions, trends in other markets, products highlighted in fashion magazines, etc. Then the team searches for fabrics and accessories that match their creative ideas, and produce prototypes. Some will be retained, with or without modifications, others will be rejected by the marketing and commercial teams if they believe that the designs are not a perfect match with consumer expectations.
What role does fabric play in this creative process?
An essential role! The fabric forms the basis of how we produce our swimsuits. Its touch, being just the right weight - not too thin to ensure it doesn't risk being transparent, nor too heavy to avoid discomfort - how it fits and its hold are all fundamental criteria that give the swimsuit its elegance and perfect look on the body.
How do you choose your fabrics?
This work is done in close collaboration with our usual fabric suppliers, who have been selected for the high quality of their swimwear fabrics. With them, we pinpoint a specific material that corresponds to the requirements I've just talked about. They then help us to create the exact and unique colour that we are looking for, which calls for real expertise in dyeing, whether this is for plain colours or prints.
What is the ideal swimwear fabric for Simone Pérèle?It is a fabric that feels perfect both to touch and to wear, while remaining comfortable at the same time. What's more, it must be flawless in quality and must be resistant to any type of external attack (sun, salt, chlorine, sunscreens etc.) without any risk of becoming misshapen, like the products in our collections that feature LYCRA® XTRA LIFE™ fibre. Besides all these qualities, we believe that a swimwear fabric can be a unique and recognisable hallmark.
Have you ever created a line from a fabric?
Yes, absolutely. This was the case just recently for our Maya line, created for the summer 2018 collection. Everything started with an extremely visual pattern in imitation leather and LYCRA® XTRA LIFE™ fibre. This gave us the inspiration for a graphic line that plays with effects of transparency on the straps, the back of the bra, or the small of the back for a chic sensuality.
Which swimsuits from your previous collections have been the most successful, and what do you attribute their success to?
Our Ankara line, in polyamide and LYCRA® fibre, has become a real summer essential, that we reinterpret each season and whose success is unfailing. It owes its success to a perfect balance between its material and its classic shapes and cut-outs. This makes the line’s swimsuits attractive and comfortable, and the detail of its asymmetric rings on the shoulder straps and lower section provide a unique fashion touch.
The Gold line, which is made from polyamide and LYCRA® fibre, is also very popular with consumers. It plays on volumes with draped effects that give the swimsuits great elegance and are also very easy to wear. It's like the little black dress of the swimwear world, an elegant, flattering and easy-to-wear essential.
Let's change the topic and come back to corsetry. Is the fabric at the very heart of the design here too?
Yes, absolutely. The needs are very different of course, since in lingerie we seek fabrics that are responsive and technical, but increasingly refined. However, here too the fabric is essential for the look, in addition to its maintenance and comfort.
Can you tell us anything about the next swimwear collection for summer 2018, or even the corsetry lines for winter 2018/19?
The central theme of the 2018 swimwear season comes from Latin America, which we have translated, most notably, into exclusive, lively and sparkling colours such as a shimmering violet, a bright orange, a celestial blue, etc. Vegetable prints also feature, with large lush leaves, as well as animal prints.
For the winter 2018 corsetry, all I can tell you is that we will be putting even more emphasis on the material than ever before. Simone Pérèle will actually be celebrating its 70th birthday, and we would like to reaffirm the corsetry style codes that the brand holds dear, through exceptional fabrics (such as fine Leavers lace) and feminine stylistic details like lacing and stitching.